India

WhatsApp’s new policy being examined: government


The Central government on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that it was examining WhatsApp’s controversial new privacy policy, which is scheduled to come into effect from May 15, at the highest level.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva — who was hearing a petition against the instant messaging platform’s new policy — granted three weeks time to the Centre to submit a status report on the issue. The court posted the case for further hearing on April 19.

During the hearing, the Centre said it was in the process of gathering more clarity on the issue and was seeking clarifications from WhatsApp.

Earlier, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, had said: “The privacy policy offered by WhatsApp to its European users, specifically prohibition of any information shared with Facebook, while this provision is not present in the privacy policy offered to Indian citizens — who form a very substantial part of WhatsApp user base. This differential treatment is a cause of concern to the government.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Chaitanya Rohilla , who has claimed that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy violates the right to privacy guaranteed under the Constitution. The plea said the new policy “virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity” without there being any supervision of the government.

The plea sought direction to issue guidelines to ensure such change in privacy policy by WhatsApp are carried out.

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